Hello, wonderful witches!
Welcome to the Improved Kitchen Witch. As I mentioned last issue, we are now publishing one or two issues a month, with special issues for paid subscribers for the sabbats and other occasions. Also on the horizon are workshops! The first is on tyromancy, or telling fortunes with cheese. This will happen in early December because I need to allow time for some cheese to get moldy in my fridge; we’ll cover why in the workshop. Please let me know in the comments or by replying to this email whether weekday evenings or weekends are better for you for workshops—it will help me plan the schedule!
Now, back to business. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I recently stayed at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado—the place that inspired The Shining. We were lucky to get a stay in a haunted room! Sadly no hauntings occurred, but we both had some very serious nightmares each night. Coincidence? Only the ghosts know… For your entertainment, here’s a picture of me pretending to be lost and hunted in the hedge maze.
Also, before we get into today’s article, I want to talk about social media. I’ve let it languish unused for a little too long; sorry about that. I’m going to pick it back up on a regular basis starting now! And soon, an official Kitchen Witch TikTok will be available. If you don’t follow the newsletter there, please join us!
For today’s article, we’re exploring the junction of juicing and witchcraft—with a recipe included!
By Jacob Sutherland
My first encounter with witchcraft was a bit unconventional—during the second half of my senior year of high school, I got a job at a local juice bar in Chicago. My manager, who herself practiced witchcraft, offered my first glimpse into what at the time to me was an unknown world. During downtime on my shifts, I would play around with the store set of angel cards she had provided, read up on chakra healing from an in-store guidebook, and blend natural medicines and ingredients with healing properties into my smoothies.
In my local juice bar, this synergy between juicing and my manager’s witchcraft made a lot of sense. Juices and smoothies are the perfect medium for oils, spices, and natural ingredients standard in healing potions. A self-love potion featuring rose petals, cardamom, and vanilla, for instance, blends perfectly with two frozen bananas and a splash of almond milk (see recipe below).
While my time at the local juice bar came to a close when I moved to San Diego later that year for college, my interactions with juice and witchcraft continued. While there is no official data on where folks who practice witchcraft live, southern California, and more specifically the San Diego suburb of Encinitas, is home to thriving Wiccan communities.
Wicca, a religion which developed during the second World War as a return to pagan traditions and later became intertwined with the second-wave Feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s, remains one of the most prominent belief systems falling under the umbrella of witchcraft.
To demonstrate just how present the Wiccan community is in Encinitas, in 2019 I went to report on a Marianne Williamson presidential rally being held at the city’s Seaside Center for Spiritual Living. There, I had the privilege to meet hundreds of Wiccans attending the event, most of whom either lived in Encinitas or the surrounding area.
Throughout my time in college up until the beginning of the pandemic, I worked at another juice bar near campus. Conversely, beginning in my first year at college, I began to venture out into the greater San Diego region, using my bus pass to visit different beachside communities. Encinitas specifically stuck out to me, given the city’s unique culture of embracing witchcraft.
Bus rides to Encinitas soon became a monthly routine. On such trips, I would visit a local juice shop, then cross the street to sip on my juice as I browsed the extensive collections of a neighboring witchcraft bookstore. I would often find myself chatting with the owners of both, the juice bar owner discussing how much they appreciated the witchcraft community, and the bookshop owner raving about the juices I would bring in on each visit.
But the affinity of the juice bar owner for witchcraft and the bookshop owner for juicing were by no means isolated relationships between the two communities—while reporting at the 2019 Williamson rally, I chatted with several Wiccans who were overjoyed that I was both interested in witchcraft and worked at a juice bar. Several of them, after the rally, even came to visit me at the store, where we were able to continue our conversations.
The commonalities shared between the juice and witchcraft communities is noteworthy in that we often don’t highlight the inequities faced by either. Many local juice shops throughout the pandemic have had to close their doors due to the state of the economy, and many who practice witchcraft still face stigmas from society at large. While by no means comparable issues, the fact that both support one another and have problems rooted in simply existing shows how this shared solidarity is important now more than ever before.
I will always cherish my experiences interacting with the juice and witchcraft communities, both at their points of intersection as well as in their vastly diverse qualities. Both communities are beautiful, welcoming, and capable of providing so much wellness and joy to the folks who cross their paths.
Love Yourself Smoothie
2 teaspoons dried rose petals
2 teaspoons dried hibiscus petals
5 ounces hot water
2 frozen bananas, chopped into pieces
5 ounces unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons raw almond butter
1 teaspoon coconut nectar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
Steep your dried rose and hibiscus petals in the hot water for 10-15 minutes, then strain your water into a cup.
In your blender, add your frozen bananas, rose and hibiscus water, almond milk, almond butter, coconut nectar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and cardamom. Blend on high in 30 second intervals, until no chunks of banana remain.
Jacob Sutherland is the editor for District One Agency and a writer at Catalyst. He writes about politics, social justice, and local issues. His writing has been featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune, The Progressive, and The Objective. Both his work in news and commentary have been recognized by the San Diego Press Club and the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists. He currently writes the online column PC Princess and can be found on Twitter and Instagram.
In the next issue…
If you’re a paid subscriber, watch your inbox for a special Samhain issue. Otherwise, we’ll be talking about absinthe next!
See you then!